The worst is over for accounting firms, said Allan D. Koltin, chief executive of Koltin Consulting Group, in his keynote address at the Thomson Reuters Users’ Conference for Professional Tax & Accounting Firms.

“The years from 2003 to 2007 may have been the best years in the history of public accounting,” he said. “The only limiting factor to growth was people.”

The recession that began in 2008 caused the pendulum to swing the other way, he observed, with the result that now “there are 50,000 resumes on the street.” However, things are now coming back.

“Business is out there, but you have to market yourself differently,” he said, noting that one out of seven accounting firm clients are not happy with their accounting firm and are open to switching firms.

He urged attendees to spend time learning the personal goals of their clients. Among the factors affecting a client’s decision to leave an accounting firm, fees were ninth on the list, he indicated. “The number one factor was that the firm didn't spend enough time with the client.”

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said.

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